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“Unions in France Protest Premier Macron’s Cuts in Labor Pay”

The C.G.T., France’s Largest Union, and Railway workers Battle Police in Paris

MORE COVERAGE of RALLY & SKIRMISH (BELOW)

 

 Unions flood Paris streets to stand vs. Macron Pay Cuts (called “Reforms”)

(Macron is an anti-union wonder-boy, trained by Rothschild Bank.)

The Telegraph (London)

 

French railways workers hold banners and flares during a demonstration to protest against French government’s string of reforms.

CREDIT: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP

22 MARCH 2018 • 6:09PM

French riot police fired teargas in Paris and other cities at demonstrators who set cars on fire and smashed windows on the sidelines of nationwide strikes and street protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms.

Hundreds of trains and flights were cancelled and scores of schools closed their doors in the first protest against the centrist president that has brought together civil servants and railway staff.

Civil servants want better pay and oppose the planned loss of 120,000 jobs by 2022, while employees of the heavily-indebted state-run SNCF rail company are fighting government plans to scrap job-for-life guarantees and automatic annual pay rises.

Just under 200,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Paris and more than 150 other cities and towns, according to a count made by French media, although the hardline CGT union put the figure far higher, at 400,000.

More than 140 separate protests were due to take place across France CREDIT: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP

But only about one in ten civil servants took part, down from 13 percent in an October strike against labour reform, government sources said, in a sign that the unions, who for decades were able to paralyse the country with their protests, may be struggling to raise the street.

Their battle against reform last autumn led to a series of street protests, but the numbers taking part grew smaller every time and eventually the reforms were put through.

Rail workers turned out in far greater numbers for the latest protests on Thursday, grounding sixty percent of high-speed TGV trains and 75 percent of intercity trains.

The Paris metro was running normally but there was severe disruption for commuters on the city’s suburban train lines. The rail disruption is likely to be the first of three months of rolling strikes threatened by the unions if the government doesn’t back down.

Security forces in Paris and Nantes used tear gas and water cannon to try and disperse the troublemakers CREDIT: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP

Rail unions are particularly aggrieved at changed, which include a reduction in retirement age and the cutting of perks like reduced or free travel for family members.

Striking air controllers also forced the cancellation of around 30 per cent of flights to and from Paris airports on Thursday.

“We’re here against the government, which is only helping the rich. What this government is doing is simply not OK,” said 65-year old pensioner Françoise Rauch, a former SNCF employee marching in Paris who said he was also protesting tax hikes on pensions.

The vast majority of the protests were peaceful, but scuffles took place between riot police and hooded protesters in Paris – where at least one car was burned and many shop windows smashed – and in Nantes.

Security forces in both cities used tear gas and water cannon to try and disperse the troublemakers.

Opinion polls show that a majority of French back the protests but, ironically, an even larger number want the reforms – which for the civil service also include bringing in merit-based pay – to go ahead.

“We agree that we need to makes changes to public services, but not to restrain them. To improve them. We need more public servants,” Philippe Martinez, secretary general of the CGT union, told French radio.

SNCF unions have already said it will hold a series of strikes in April, May and June if the government does not back down on its plans for the rail company’s workers

In a separate dispute, Air France said it can only ensure 75 percent of medium- and long-haul flights on Friday due to a strike called by unions at the airline who are demanding a six percent pay rise.

 


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